Real estate investors are always looking for houses for sale that they can buy and rent out or sell at a profit. If you are considering buying a rental property, a duplex investment strategy is worth considering. A duplex is basically a single building or house with separate entrances for two residents. The units could be side by side or on separate floors. Typically, duplexes are used for house hacking, where the owner lives in one unit and rents out the other. You could, of course, just rent out both units.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to House Hacking
Just like any other real estate investment, investing in a duplex comes with its share of pros and cons:
Benefits of Buying a Duplex
- Affordability – Duplexes for sale are usually situated in very affordable areas. As a result, they are an ideal investment for first-time buyers.
- Easy mortgage payments – Buying a duplex makes economic sense since you will be collecting rent from your tenant while living in the other unit (if you’re hacking your housing). This makes mortgage repayment relatively painless.
- Renting to family members – In case you have family members that require extra supervision or care, you could allow them to rent the extra unit. This way, you can have family members in close proximity while still maintaining a relative sense of privacy.
- Tax benefits – Being a real estate investor means that you can enjoy some tax deductions on account of your rental property. For instance, you could deduct repair and maintenance costs before paying taxes on your rental income.
Downsides of Owning a Duplex
- Living with tenants – Being a duplex owner and house hacking means that you are a landlord living right next to your tenants. This can be very stressful, especially if you have a tenant that is always knocking on your door making complaints or requests. As a landlord, therefore, you need to be very selective about the kind of people you allow to live next to you. In addition, you need to have ground rules that will facilitate a harmonious relationship
- Rental income is not guaranteed – Having a duplex is not a guarantee that you will always have tenants, especially if you are house hacking. This is because not everyone likes the idea of living next door to the property owner. You are likely to have some periods of vacancy which will mean losing rental income.
Keep in mind that some of these pros and cons are a result of house hacking. So, if you plan on renting out both units, you can minimize some of the cons and make the most profit from rental income. On the other hand, you will not be living for free but instead, paying for rent or mortgage payments on your primary residence.
Many investors ask, ‘How can I find duplexes for sale near me’? If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and are ready to start your search, here are some of the ways to find an investment property of this type:
4 Ways to Find a Duplex for Sale Near You
1. Check Real Estate Sites
Finding a duplex for sale on your own is a great way to avoid commissions charged by real estate agents. The good news is that there are many places out there where you can conduct an investment property search and find listings of homes for sale. Some of the sites worth looking up include Loopnet.com, Auction.com, Craigslist.com, Realtor.com, and Propertyshark.com. One of the best real estate investment tools for finding and analyzing duplexes for sale, however, is Mashvisor’s property finder. Rather than just locate listings, you’ll be able to pinpoint duplexes that will bring you a good return on investment.
Try this tool for free now.
Related: Rental Property Finder: A Revolutionary Tool for Investing in Real Estate
2. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Experienced real estate agents can be very invaluable when looking for duplexes for sale. Such agents can provide useful information about the state of the local housing market and help determine the value of the property accurately. However, working with a real estate agent means commissions will be involved, which is usually 3% to 7% of the sale price. For example, if you buy an investment property worth $250,000, the commission could be between $7,500 and $17,500.
3. Network with Other Investors
Networking with other real estate investors is a great way of finding duplexes for sale in the neighborhood. One of the best ways of networking is by joining the local real estate investors association (REIA). Such groups meet frequently to learn, network, and share information with each other. You could also attend local real estate trade shows and seminars.
4. Drive for Dollars
A slow drive through a neighborhood is likely to reveal duplexes for sale. Look for For Sale By Owner (FSBO) signs around the area. Some property owners use such signs to attract buyers instead of listing on property sites. This means that you could be the first person to know about a duplex for sale. In addition, you need to check for indications of neglected and rundown buildings in the neighborhood. You can buy such distressed properties at a low price and increase their value through renovations and repairs.
Related: A Guide to the Driving for Dollars Real Estate Strategy
Once you manage to find a duplex for sale, you need to check its investment viability to be sure you’ve found a good property to invest in. So be sure to do the following:
Check the Numbers
As a real estate investor, finding a duplex for sale in a great location is not enough. You need to look at the numbers before deciding whether or not to invest in an income property. Some of the important stats to consider include:
- Rental rates – Find out the rental rates for comparable properties in the area. This will help you establish if the rent can cover the costs associated with running the property.
- Vacancy rates – If properties in the area have a high turnover rate, you will struggle to generate a good return on investment.
- Net operating income – Also known as cash flow, NOI is what is left after deducting expenses from the gross rent. You want to make sure you have a positive cash flow.
The occupancy rate, cap rate, and cash on cash return are other numbers you need to look at. You can get these numbers from sites such as Mashvisor.
Inspect the Property
Once you have identified potential investment properties in your area, you need to carry out an inspection to ascertain the building’s condition. While some buildings come in rent-ready condition, others might require some renovation first. It would be advisable to have a professional contractor or building inspector look at the duplex you are considering. Get a comprehensive inspection report outlining what needs to be upgraded. This report can come in handy when negotiating with the property owner. If the repairs are too extensive, it would be wise to back out of the offer and look elsewhere.
Anyone can learn how to find duplexes for sale. Look for investment properties that will generate positive cash flow and have the potential for capital gains. Remember that due diligence is a must for successful real estate investment.